Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 - The Year of Fierce Deity

Another year went by and while we have a big year for Zelda ahead of us with the 30th Anniversary, this year wasn't too bad either. We got one new remake, one new multiplayer game and some more DLC. And all of it had one constant: Fierce Deity Link was in it. Ever since I first played Majora's Mask 15 years ago I was fascinated by this dark being and hoping that we would be able to play as the Fierce Deity again at some point.

Hyrule Warriors then made my wish come true first with its Majora's Mask DLC early in the year. The remake Majora's Mask 3D would follow, though I was not happy that Fierce Deity Link went from a boss killer to a fisher in this game. You can't easily kill Gyorg with him anymore, but they let you catch other fish instead... oh well.

Then Tri Force Heroes came out of nowhere. Well, I personally was hoping for an online Four Swords game to happen and I got my wish. And one of my favorite features of the game are the outfits, which feel like a perfect hybrid of the masks from Majora's Mask and the Magic Rings from Oracle of Ages & Seasons. The first update of the game then provided us with a nice Fierce Deity costume, which is pretty badass.

Needless to say that many Sword Beams were fired in the year 2015...


One year ago I had in mind that this year would give us Zelda U and next year we would see the next multiplayer Zelda on 3DS. These roles got switched and I'm not unhappy with it. Since I moved recently the 3DS is my preferred gaming system right now and Zelda U certainly feels like a better fit for the big 30th Anniversary of the franchise, similar to how Skyward Sword got released during the 25th Anniversary.

And until we get the next big Zelda game, Nintendo will keep us busy. This is what we can certainly expect in 2016:

  • More Tri Force Heroes Content
  • Twilight Princess HD
  • Hyrule Warriors Legends
  • The Legend of Zelda for Wii U

There might also be some more re-releases, e.g. Skyward Sword on the Wii U eShop, Majora's Mask on the Wii U Virtual Console or even the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. And who knows... we might see Linkle's Crossbow Training happening, hehe. But overall 2016 will be a busy year for Zelda fans!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tri Force Heroes: Hero Points Update

Tri Force Heroes was updated to version 2.1.0 yesterday as a little surprise. And Nintendo is still working hard on fixing the problem with people quitting all the time. It seems the black listing didn't do anything and now they give you rewards for not quitting, if you don't get your vote. This gives you Hero Points, which earns you free missing materials at the merchant and an upgrade for the Bear Minimum outfit.

I have completed the game already for 100% and if I play, I play to help others completing their challenges. And it's nice that this is now also rewarded. If you select "I can't decide" (which actually means "I don't care"), you will also get Hero Points. And this really brought me back into playing the game. It's a nice incentive for people to stay around and play more, help others.

The problem is, however, that you might run into a group of people, who all just select "I don't care" and clearly all have completed the game already. That's not much fun for me, I like the feeling of at least achieving some progress for someone else, being helpful, but also laying back. I don't want to be all "do this, come here, do that".

And the reward was a bad choice...

I kind of liked, how the Bear Minimum was a "Hero Mode" costume, making the game more difficult. If I score 30 Hero Points, it will be a better version of the Cursed Tights, making yet another costume obsolete and also destroying the only real challenge costume. Actually it's more a reason not to go for Hero Points...

They should have upgraded the Hero's Tunic in different ways for scoring Hero Points instead. It's called the Hero's Tunic anyway and right now it doesn't have any use at all. So, why not give this costume an upgrade instead? - The answer to that question turned out to be simple: the Dopples in the singleplayer mode are using the Hero's Tunic, so it has to stay neutral to keep things balanced there. On the other hand this would have been an even nicer reward, because it helps you with completing the singleplayer Challenges.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Replaying Phantom Hourglass on the Wii U

Last night I completed Phantom Hourglass on the Wii U Virtual Console. This is the fourth time that I have beaten this game and the third time, where I fully completed it for 100%, which means 25:00 Best Time, all Heart Containers, Spirit Gems, Fish, Treasures, Ship Parts and so on. Last thing to do was getting drunk at Beedle's until I achieved V.I.P. status.

Before that I was stuck getting the Golden Chimney and the Regal Ring, which took a while. At the end I even abused the Restore Points of the Virtual Console to get the job done. With the Regal Ring it didn't really work, when I won treasures at the archery minigame, it would give me everything but the Regal Ring. But then I made a Restore Point right before saving Nyave in the Southwestern Sea, where I got "lucky" eventually. With Ship Parts in the archery minigame it didn't work as easy though, because even after scoring 2000 points, it seems like there's only a limited pool of random of ship parts, which you can win at a time. So, the Restore Points only help a little. Also, the game has these phases, where it hands you new Ship Parts one after another in small bursts, probably after getting a certain number of duplicates or so. But while playing the archery minigame I usually keep getting the same junk, until suddenly the missing parts were popping in. And by using Restore Points you would miss these bursts.

However, like in my 2nd playthrough I was stuck with missing one final ship part, but at least it was nice that it was a golden part. That way I didn't lose motivation and I used to be a little more creative with building my ship. For example I used the Tropical Ship in combination with the other gold parts, which looks very nice, a lot better than with the actual golden hull, because of the nice grass.

Needless to say that I've played the archery minigame A LOT again...

But it plays very nicely on the Wii U GamePad, if you hold it sideways. I sat in an armchair, put my left arm on the armrest and the GamePad on my belly. This way I could play comfortably. I even got a 2400 score, which is pretty good, though I think my highscore on the Nintendo DS was 2500 points. I need to check this.

In 2011 I replayed the game on a rented copy, because I didn't want to delete any of the completed savegames on my original copy. (see my post here). I didn't complete the game at the time, because I didn't get to keep it anyway, but I took note of the treasure and ship parts values. Interestingly enough I got the exact same values again this time:

  • Pink Coral / Bright Parts: 1500
  • White Pearl Loop / Iron Parts: 50
  • Black Pearl Loop / Stone Parts: 800
  • Zora Scale / Vintage Parts: 800
  • Goron Amber / Demon Parts: 50
  • Ruto Crown / Tropical Parts: 50
  • Helmaroc Feather / Tourist Parts: 50

Was Recht ist, kommt wieder! This might have been coincidence, but maybe the random generation of the values is based on your name. I think, I also used "Tourian" on the rented copy, but I'm not sure anymore. In any case, I got the chance to finally complete the same "setting" and it's quite the powerful combination. There are no 150 Rupee values, but two sets worth 800 Rupees and two sets worth 1500 Rupees. You can make a lot of money here and I kept getting the stone and vintage parts all the time, until I couldn't see them anymore.

I was a lot more lucky with the fish this time though. I got a Stowfish quite early on a Loovar and the first swordfish shadow, which I had encountered, actually brought up the Neptoona! However, this wasn't until after the end of the game, because I first thought that the swordfish shadows would appear right after getting the Big Catch Lure. But you have to find a Rusty Swordfish on a normal shadow first... I kept wondering for the entire game, why no swordfish would show up, but it was actually my mistake. And that's why I was one Heart Container short, when I faced Bellum... Not that this makes any difference, but I simply like to be done with everything, before I got to the final boss.

Like the last time I've replayed this game, I decided to collect the 3rd and 4th Sea Chart in one go, but unlike the last time it went really smoothly. I got about 10 minutes left, when I reached the end. I also used my Speed Guide to get the 25:00 Best Time without any effort.

Now... there are good reasons, why you'd want to get the 3rd and 4th Sea Charts at the same time. One is that you don't have to return to the Temple of the Ocean King until after you've got the Phantom Sword. The other is that it lets you explore the entire 2nd half of the game freely on your own terms. You can play the three temples in any order, which leaves six possible ways of beating the game. And these are the orders I did in the past:

  • Ice Temple → Goron Temple → Mutoh's Temple
  • Mutoh's Temple → Ice Temple → Goron Temple
  • Ice Temple → Mutoh's Temple → Goron Temple

This time I actually decided to start with the Goron Temple for once. Then I went for Mutoh's Temple and for the first time I've played the Ice Temple last. This leaves the Grappling Hook for the end, where you will revisit most islands to find treasures with this tool, while Hammer and Bombchus are only useful in the Temple of the Ocean King. Because of this I previously preferred to get the Grappling Hook early, but it also has a nice touch to keep it for the end.

I probably won't replay the game for a fifth time, until Nintendo releases a remake, though I'm pretty certain that the Nintendo DS games will get remakes in the next generation after playing this. The graphics are extremely outdated and there's so much room for improvement. But I will talk about this in separate posts. Anyway, if that happens, I will go through Mutoh's Temple → Goron Temple → Ice Temple next. The intended order of Goron Temple → Ice Temple → Mutoh's Temple I will save for last, hehe. Only boring people play that.

But overall it was enjoyable to replay the game on the Virtual Console, though it gave my screen protector something to do for the first time. Before playing Phantom Hourglass there was nothing on it, but now it got quite some tiny scratches... Can't help it, but I have to say that those are probably the only Zelda games, where I don't like cutting grass. You rarely get hearts out of them and swiping the touchscreen like that isn't really good for it. And because of this, if Nintendo ever does remakes, I certainly want optional button controls, which should work fine with analog sticks or slide pads. I was a fan of the touchscreen controls back then, but after playing Tri Force Heroes it just felt weird.

I also had issues at first with understanding, how the internal clock works now on the Virtual Console to find the Masked Beedle and so on. You actually have to reset the game in order to synchronize the clock with the Wii u again. If you're using Return and Restore Points, they will have the time stored, when you left them. So, if I leave the game via the HOME menu now and come back in a week, it still thinks it's the 22nd December. Keep that in mind, if you ever want to play the Nintendo DS Zelda games on the Wii U.

That's it for Phantom Hourglass. I'm not sure, how Spirit Tracks will go... I won't be able to play it for some time and I got to the Ocean Lands, but the microphone on the Wii U doesn't really work for this game. Playing the Spirit Flute is pure pain...

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Tri Force Heroes: Coliseum Improvements

The Arena was one of the features of this game I looked forward to the most, since the Zelda series kind of has a long history of failed Battle Modes. There were the Shadow Battles in Four Swords Adventures, which were pretty awesome, but you could only play it with other people locally, so most Zelda fans never experienced this. Phantom Hourglass then offered an online mode, however, the game of controlling Phantoms and collecting Force Gems was very different and probably not the most fun for everyone. Spirit Tracks then offered a more fun Battle Mode, but dropped the online component. And while A Link Between Worlds had an excellent duel mode, you could only play it against an AI.

Finally with Tri Force Heroes there's the traditional Battle Mode experience online, but it has too many flaws to be enjoyed to the fullest. I find playing with Randoms rarely to be fun and playing with friends only works, because you're avoiding unfair advantages of certain costumes. But it's not too late to fix this. Nintendo has already released an update for this game and more will follow, where the Coliseum could potentially be improved. And with this post I want to give some ideas on how to do this.

Costume Balance

Ironically my new favorite collectible item of all times is stirring up most of the issues. So, fixing this is probably one of the most important things, because some outfits are outright overpowered. Mainly the Sword Master Sword, the Hammerwear and the Serpent Toga come into mind.

The Hammerwear needs some serious nerfing, even in the main game it's very unbalanced. It's very fast, very safe thanks to the stun effect and does the most damage in the game with SIX hearts. The strongest attacks, which you can do with other weapons, deal "only" four hearts of damage and those are either Spin Attacks or Big Bombs, both being quite unsafe. The upgraded Hammer should only do four Hearts maximum as well and it should become a lot slower, more similar to the Nice Hammer in A Link Between Worlds, but maybe not as slow.

The Serpent Toga is only really an issue in the Ruins, where you can render yourself invincible by picking up the Bombs and then staying in the center of your colored circle. Now, there's an easy solution for that: just make the Boomerang pick up Serpent Toga users. If that was possible, then there wouldn't be a problem. Also, maybe an option, where offensive play gets rewarded and not defensive play, would help, so that players just don't hide behind invulnerability.

The Sword Master Suit really causes trouble with its range and I'm not sure, what could be done here. The increased range is the whole point of the costume, but it's also what makes it so hard to counter, especially if there are no items in play. But this leads me to another point...

Item Selection

Now let's say you're actually going for an upgraded item, there's always the chance that you won't get it, because your opponents pick it up first. And then you're in there with a big disadvantage. Many matches are decided by pure luck right at the beginning because of this.

Now there's a couple different solutions here. One would be that downed players drop their item again. In theory it sounds good, however, your opponent might wear the Sword Master Suit and is pretty much untouchable with you not having any powers.

So, the only real solution would be making sure that you get what you want. Essentially they could just use the empty sockets to fill them with enough items for everyone. Like in the Forest there could be three Bows and three Bombs, so that everyone will be able to pick up what he prefers. This also would work for the Vulcano and Snowlands, but Riverside and Fortress would need additional sockets and on Ruins this wouldn't work at all, because this arena has all items.

Another way would be giving you automatically the item, which gets upgraded by your costume. So, for example selecting the Robowear equips you with the Gripshot on all arenas. This way all items could be utilized in all arenas at any time, making the game more interesting. It would also add more balance against Sword Masters in arenas without any items. It's an easy solution with good results, given that they have nerfed the Hammerwear beforehand. Because otherwise you would just get hammered everywhere and all the time.

Options / Rules

At the very least I want some way to turn off the Wallmaster in duels, because it can be really annoying and disrupting a good fight between two equal players. It could even be a general option or something like the Drabland Challenges, where you play the Coliseum under certain rules like "Evade the Wallmaster!" or "Fight in Darkness!". Even the volcanic rocks in the Sky arena should be a challenge like this, since these rocks can be fun, but they destroy a perfectly neutral arena.

So, before a match players can vote for a challenge / rule or the default game. And I feel like the following challenges could be interesting for the arena:

  • Evade the Wallmaster!
  • Avoid the volcanic rocks! / Don't get hit by snowballs!
  • Don't fall at all! / Avoid falling and quicksand!
  • Win without using a sword!
  • Fight in the dark!

Win Criterias / Game Modes

Now, this could be a topic on its own. In Tri Force Heroes the player wins, who died the least after 90 seconds. On a tie, the remaining hearts count. In A Link Between Worlds the mode basically was "Last Link Standing" and when the two opponents still were alive after a time limit, the player, who dealt the most damage, won. This was to counter Blue Potions, which otherwise would decide the game.

Now, with tactics like the Serpent Toga I previously felt that A Link Between Worlds had the better way and it should be similar with Tri Force Heroes. However, then costumes like the Queen of Hearts would become useless and it's all about having the best damage output. Defensive play should be legitimate as well. "When two people quarrel, a third rejoices." And if someone wins by simply evading and hiding, it's the other two players' fault, really,

Still, maybe there could be an option for different modes that have different win criterias, so that the players can decide. There could even be a mode, where instead of destroying each other, the goal is to collect the most Force Gems or Rupees, similar to the Battle Mode in Spirit Tracks.

Big Plays

For the StreetPass battles in A Link Between Worlds there were 50 medals to collect / challenges to clear. And boy, was that a lot of fun. There were challenges for all the different items, some tricky kills and more. In Tri Force Heroes you could already have one medal for each outfit, even ones that you usually wouldn't use in the arena. For example there could be a medal, where everyone wears the Tri Suit (which actually activates all the effects except for the Rupees, I've tested this). This would encourage people to try and use all the different costumes in the arena, not just the most powerful ones.

And this would make people play the Coliseum more. At least until they have collected all 50+ medals. Of course there needs to be some neat reward, maybe you get a special costume for clearing them all. This would be perfect for a Coliseum Update and here are some other examples for potential medals:

  • Cause 9 Hearts of damage with the Cacto-Clothes!
  • Win without using B or Y!
  • Win without losing a Heart!

This could keep us playing for a while. Naturally some people would just help each other out with these. I would probably abuse my 2nd Nintendo 3DS systems for the tougher challenges. But overall this could be a good idea to bring more life into the arena. And all they would have to do is importing this feature from A Link Between Worlds.

Additional Arenas

Two more areas get added to the game via updates and there should be at least two more arenas as well. One for the Den of Trials and one for whatever area they will add next. The Den of Trials arena could visually follow the Baneful Zone, which was rather unique at the end. Instead of winning specific materials, you would just randomly win a material from any area, since the Den of Trials doesn't have materials on its own.

Of course one or two arenas won't add much. Ideally there would be multiple arenas per area, instead of just one. Especially the Dunes come to mind, where you have the arena with the giant balance platform, but no quicksand. It would be interesting to have an arena with sand to fight on. Theoretically there could be an arena for every level in the game and since these are small places, they shouldn't be too hard to built. After all the Den of Trials has over 30 floors, which all could qualify as arenas.

WARNING: Den of Trials SPOILERS ahead!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Linebeck's Uniform and the Friendly Token Guy

It's noticeable that the Faux Hero, who gives you the Friendly Tokens at the front of the castle, only reacts differently to three outfits: the Timeless Tunic, the Tri Suit and Linebeck's Uniform. The first two are gotten from Friendly Tokens and it makes sense that he would react to them, but why also to Linebeck? Maybe this costume was supposed to cost Friendly Tokens as well, early on I speculated that there would be a costume costing the remaining seven tokens, which was before I discovered that you could sell them.

Also, with Linebeck's Uniform it's possible to read the secret message down at the water. Only the Tri Suit let you do that so far and the message was supposedly only readable by someone with many friends, while Linebeck is more of a loner. So, thematically it doesn't fit, which might be another hint that Linebeck's Uniform originally was supposed to cost many Friendly Tokens.

Other than that I also collected all 15 Friendly Tokens from the kid by now. I farmed them using all my 3DS systems, because the Zelda fan meeting later this month sadly got cancelled and I didn't want to wait until summer, before I was able to complete everything. And I still have another copy of the game, where I could collect them all over again. But with that I have 100%ed this game so to say. At least until the next big update hits.

Tri Force Heroes: Potential Outfit Abilities

Following The Cutting Room Floor there will be six DLC costumes in total for Tri Force Heroes. There are six placeholder slots for DLC costumes and the first two have been used by Linebeck's Uniform and the Fierce Deity Armor. So, I suspect that there are two more large updates planned, each housing two additional outfits.

I made multiple speculations posts about the outfits in the past months, e.g. this one, and by now it's safe to assume that Nintendo and GREZZO are actually looking at the abilities of the 64 Magic Rings from the Oracle games. I already talked about this here, but the Fierce Deity Armor actually covered two more of them, the Energy Ring (sort of) and the Steadfast Ring.

Now, instead of conjuring up new outfits, I simply want to think about what other abilities could still make sense for this game. Here's a list:

  • Ice and glass floors don't crumble (Roc's Ring).
  • Strong winds have no effect.
  • You can throw things further (Toss Ring).
  • You hold onto things even when taking damage.
  • The dark curses don't effect you (Whisp Ring).
  • No harm from electricity (Green Holy Ring).
  • Damage taken is always one heart (Protection Ring).

Some of these could be combined into one, for example the first two abilities could go into some birdman / Rito outfit. The abilities to toss further and hold onto things could also make sense in one strong man suit. And the last three abilities could be combined into some protective armor. Yes, this is similar to what I had in mind before, but I wanted to list the individual effects, since they could just become side effects to new costumes like it was with the Fierce Deity Armor. Or how the Linebeck's Uniform adds 10 seconds to timed missions as a bonus.

The latter actually makes me believe that the Fairy Costume still will be a thing, since the ability of adding a fairy would be quite similar. It could also have some of protective properties, e.g. defending you from curses. That way a Fairy Costume would be a good choice for the Den of Trials. And I'm still holding onto that Bee Costume idea, where cutting grass releases bees to help you in battle. It just sounds too fun not to happen...

Actually both of these costumes could accompany some sort of A Link the Past / A Link Between Worlds DLC with areas and dungeons from these games.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

30th Anniversary Replay List

With the 25th Anniversary I decided to go through all Zelda games again, one way or another (see my replay posts). I had completed the original Four Swords for the first time in that year and I even went through the BS Zelda games again, so it was quite a year of playing Zelda for me. Now, the 30th Anniversary will be a thing next year and I'm already getting the feeling like I will play a lot of Zelda during this anniversary as well.

The following games I will replay for sure:

  • Oracle of Ages (3DS VC, Linked Hero's Quest)
  • Oracle of Seasons (3DS VC, Linked Hero's Quest)
  • The Wind Waker HD (2nd Quest)
  • Twilight Princess (new HD version)
  • Phantom Hourglass (Wii U VC)
  • Spirit Tracks (Wii U VC)
  • A Link Between Worlds (Hero Mode)

I've already started with Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks, because I'm reviewing for ZeldaEurope how these two games are playing on the Wii U Virtual Console. Unlike last time I will play both of these games simultaneously. My original Nintendo DS copies are "full", both savegames done 100% with all Ship Parts and Train Carts collected, so I never would want to delete those. But with these new VC copies I have the necessary room for additional playthroughs.

I've already replayed A Link Between Worlds this year to prepare for Tri Force Heroes, but I still have to complete the Hero Mode there, which I will save for later. This includes going through all 50 StreetPass challenges again, but I enjoy the Dark Link fights a lot, even a lot more than the arena in Tri Force Heroes, sadly...

In 2013 the Oracle games were released on the 3DS Virtual Console and I used this as a project, where I get all 64 Rings from scratch again. I've even written my popular ring guide at the time. However, I started with two simultaneous Hero's Quests using the same GameID. I basically started a new game in both Ages and Seasons, where I could share the rings. The actual Linked Games I saved for later and it turns out that this will happen during the 30th Anniversary.

It's similar with The Wind Waker HD. I first played this, when it came out in 2013, I got all the figurines during the 1st quest, but I saved the 2nd Quest for later. I didn't have an HD TV at the time and I still don't have one yet, but I will get one next year and The Wind Waker HD will be one of the first games I play on it.

And with Twilight Princess HD I will sort of replay Twilight Princess by playing the new version. I've fully completed both the GameCube and Wii version of Twilight Princess twice and while I'm actually in the mood for the playing this game again, I don't feel like ever going back to the old copies. So, I have to admit that the timing of Twilight Princess HD is pretty nice for me, even though I still think that they should have saved this remake for the next generation.

As for the rest, on both Nintendo 3DS and Wii U I have a couple of unplayed or unfinished copies of Zelda games around, mostly for Virtual Console:

  • The Legend of Zelda (3DS & Wii U VC)
  • Zelda II - The Adventure of Link (3DS & Wii U VC)
  • A Link to the Past (Wii U VC)
  • Ocarina of Time (Wii U VC)
  • Ocarina of Time 3D (2nd copy)
  • Majora's Mask 3D (download version)
  • Tri Force Heroes (retail copy)

All of these could be potential targets for more replays. The NES classics I had fully beaten on the Wii VC the last time, so on either 3DS or Wii U it should be easier, since there I can use save states for a more comfortable experience. You can save right before the bosses or difficult parts.

It's a shame that the Wii U Virtual Console doesn't allow you to import your saves from the Wii Virtual Console, because otherwise I could already check most of the games there as "complete". But currently I haven't touched anything on the Wii U VC yet. I only got them, because you can get them for cheap and it looks nice to have some sort of collection.

A Link to the Past should go well alongside A Link Between Worlds, but I'm not sure about the Nintendo 64 Zelda games. I suspect that Majora's Mask will be released on the Wii U Virtual Console next year as well, so I have both empty copies of the original versions and the 3DS remakes. I probably will stick with the remakes though, since I don't have as much experience with them and because the play better.

Interestingly enough I do own two copies of all the 3DS Zelda games. I got two retail copies of Ocarina of Time 3D, because of the Anniversary Edition bundle, which got released later and featured a different cover for the game. I got both a retail copy and a download copy for A Link Between Worlds, Majora's Mask 3D and Tri Force Heroes. The retail copy of A Link Between Worlds is what I'm using for replaying, I originally played a download version. The download copy of Majora's Mask 3D came with the Special Edition New Nintendo 3DS XL and remains untouched so far. And I bought Tri Force Heroes in the eShop, when it came out, and later got a boxed review copy from Nintendo (which is very useful for testing the arena and the like). Now, with Tri Force Heroes you can always replay all levels anyway, but if I ever feel like starting over from scratch with all the costumes, I will use my retail copy. I even started collecting Friendly Tokens there, when I farmed them for my main game.

So, there's that. What games are still left?

  • Link's Awakening
  • Four Sword
  • Four Swords Adventures
  • The Minish Cap
  • Skyward Sword

Link's Awakening I usually replay once per year anyway, because it's a tradition and because you can quickly beat it in one sitting. I'm not sure about the Four Swords games, I probably won't play them on my own, but I might play them with other Zelda fans during ZeldaEurope fan meetings. They might also re-release Four Swords Anniversary Edition for free again, where I might install and play it on one of my other 3DS systems. The Minish Cap I've already completed last year on the Wii U Virtual Console and I don't feel like playing it again, unless they put it on the New Nintendo 3DS as well.

And then there's Skyward Sword, where I really would like to replay it, before Zelda U hits. Mainly because that way I would go through all 3D Zelda games again before the new one, but also because I haven't played this since fully completing both normal and Hero Mode, when the game was released back in 2011.

Of course this is also a question of time and other games might get in the way, especially Hyrule Warriors Legends might turn out to be quite time consuming again, while at the same time it basically counts as replaying Hyrule Warriors all over again. But I also wanted to check out the new Unreal Tournament next year, though I will try to set my focus on Zelda to honor the 30th Anniversary as much as possible. The next big anniversary will be in 10 years, since 35 years doesn't count as a special anniversary, so both Nintendo and Zelda fans should make this one count.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Tri Force Heroes: Ideas for Future Updates

Overall I'm pretty happy with the first update of Tri Force Heroes. First of all it's free, so it doesn't split the community and I can install it on all my 3DS systems without paying extra. And you don't look a gift horse into the mouth. I wouldn't be even sure, how much this should be worth... maybe 0.99€ or 1.99€, but not more. It only adds one hour of gameplay.

But I like that this goes in a different direction, where you might enjoy replaying the whole thing. In my previous posts I pointed out how well one new area could be packed as DLC with four new levels, 12 challenges, new materials and outfits and one new arena. But this wouldn't solve the main issue with the game. Once you're done with all the challenges, you're done with the game and you move on, unless you really enjoy helping others getting there. It's in the nature of a Zelda game and the lack of multiple save slots doesn't help with the situation either. But there needs to be something that keeps you playing. And having some interesting modes like might do that, at least for a little while.

Right now the Den of Trials has only one level, but it's entirely possible that they will add more levels to this area with additional trials, especially a Boss Rush comes to mind. There also should be space for another area, which should be used for something different, e.g. a Realm of Memories for the 30th Anniversary.

(It would also be nice to have some sort of random mode. What added real replay value to Four Swords was the random selection of floors in a level. You never knew what you would get and that way things kept being interesting. I would picture the final version of Vaati's Palace as the basis, where you would fight every boss from the game and get random floors from the entire game in between. Maybe something like this could work in Tri Force Heroes as well. Have a random floor, have a random challenge, fight stronger enemies and fight the bosses in between. The only problem I see here is that the outfits wouldn't work with random floors at all. Even in the Den of Trials you're already stuck with costumes that are helpful in all situations. The Goron Garb might be nice in the Fire Zone, but it won't help you in the next one. So, this idea might not make sense...)

This is what I have in mind right now: one Boss Rush Mode update and one Anniversary update, both featuring two additional costumes for a total of six DLC costumes. Naturally I will speculate more about the costumes later, but it looks like I was on the right track following the Magic Ring abilities from Oracle of Ages & Seasons. Now we got the Steadfast Ring as an additional effect for the Fierce Deity Armor and it's entirely possible that some other remaining ring abilities will come back as well, e.g. the Roc's Ring, even if it's just as a side effect.

Besides the additional content Nintendo and GREZZO hit the nail on the head with their improvements. I think it pays that there is now the Miiverse, Nintendo is finally getting direct feedback from their customers and they can improve their games based on that. So, stuff like buying Friendly Tokens or the measures against quitters are very welcome and are probably based on feedback.

And hopefully future updates will also address the much criticized singleplayer mode. I would just do the following:

  • Have the Dopples follow you by pressing R.
  • Being able to chose outfits for Dopples.
  • Steer a totem with any Link.

If we would have these improvements, the singleplayer should be fine. With the outfits maybe there should be the restriction that one outfit can't be used twice, so you can't abuse the Tri Suit and the like. I got used to the fact that you can only profit from one costume in singleplayer and actually equipping all Links with outfits might be too powerful for singleplayer.

The other big feature, which could use a lot of improvements, is the arena. I was a big fan of the StreetPass battles in A Link Between Worlds, but I can't seem to enjoy the arena that much. A few things could help though:

  • Whoever did the most damage should win.
  • Additional arenas, especially a basic arena without gimmicks.
  • Dark Links as singleplayer bots.
  • Option to turn off the Wallmaster in duels.
  • Balancing some outfits like Hammerwear.
  • Medals.

The last point is important, there should be something like the 50 Challenges in A Link Between Worlds. Win wearing Bear Minimum! Win without using B or Y! Win against the Sword Master Suit! All the costumes alone would add enough potential for many different challenges and this would motivate players to keep playing the arena, while using all sorts of different costumes, instead of resorting to the few overpowered ones.

It might even be that one of the updates focuses entirely on the Coliseum mode instead of adding new areas to the game. Could come with two outfits specifically designed for the arena. To be honest, I don't really need or want a Boss Rush, so having an Arena Update and an Anniversary would be great.

PS: I would also love more music for the Lucky Lobby Ball, especially some songs from Zelda II - The Adventure of Link, mainly Palace and Town, and the Underworld theme from The Legend of Zelda. Also, the Lake Hylia or House theme from Four Swords Adventures to have something from this game as well. These are like the only Zelda games with music from Nintendo that don't get featured by the Lobby Ball. And of course there are many other great songs, which could appear.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Zelda U @ Game Awards 2015?

Exactly one year ago at the game awards we got the last extensive look at Zelda U (see here). Except for a small snippet at the last Direct, we didn't see anything else. So, I'm pretty sure that we're going to see Zelda U again tonight. What else would they show? Certainly not the NX and they already showed a lot of Starfox Zero (Effort) this year... So, it's time for Zelda U again.

Also, the demonstration last year was an important turn of events. There have been many concerns that the world looks to empty, which probably was one of the main reasons for Nintendo to delay the game for an entire year. And now it's time to show what they have accomplished in this additional year. They need to show the difference, to show what you can explore and find.

I would also like to see a dungeon. So, maybe do something similar to last year. Start in the overworld, explore a bit, show that the world has more to offer now and then go into a dungeon to show what has changed here.

Update: Or they could just show nothing at all... too bad.

Fierce Deity Armor = Red Ring + Light Ring + Steadfast Ring

We already knew that the Fierce Deity Armor would work similar to the Sword Suit, just with four beams instead of one. However, I was surprised to learn that it brought two more Oracle of Ages & Seasons Magic Ring abilities back. One is the Steadfast Ring, which nullifies all knockback. I already covered this in my previous ideas like the "Heavy Armor", but it's especially useful with Hardhat Beetles. And now it's in the game thanks to my all time favorite Fierce Deity Link. The other ability is to shoot sword beams even when you're not at full health by doing a Spin Attack. This is similar to the Energy Ring, however, instead of replacing the Spin Attack you do both. Pretty nice.

Though I have to admit I kind of dislike the short range compared to the Sword Master Suit. I guess, this keeps things somewhat balanced, so the Sword Master Sword doesn't turn obsolete, but in the arena the Fierce Deity is inferior to the Sword Master, which feels like a bad joke...

Linebeck's uniform also has a hidden feature: you get 10 seconds extra in time limit challenges. Probably not worth it, since other costumes can save you more time overall, but it's good that this costume isn't just for personal benefits.

The Den of Trials is very short lived, but fun. Turns out with "40 levels" they meant actual floors, not 40 stages... So, it's just one stage really and more like a minigame, which compares to the Treacherous the Tower. Took me less than an hour to beat. But some enemies from A Link Between Worlds return and the final fight was awesome...